Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

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This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic, Christopher Columbus, and supports the standard of evaluating the impact of European explorers during the Age of Exploration. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.

Step 1: ACTIVATE PRIOR KNOWLEDGE

Ask students:

  • Why do some people choose not to celebrate Columbus Day?
  • What do they celebrate instead? 

Step 2: BUILD BACKGROUND

  • Read aloud the description on the Christopher Columbus topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding.
  • Have students read one of the following Related Reading articles: “Did You Know?” or “Personalities.” Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: ENGAGE
Students express what they learned about Christopher Columbus while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a movie documenting Columbus’s arrival from the perspective of a Native person. (Essential Literacy Skill:Make logical inferences from explicit details)
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying the reasons for Columbus’ voyages. (Essential Literacy Skill:Summarize key details)
  • Creative Coding: Code a museum with artifacts that symbolize the multiple perspectives impacted by Columbus’s voyage. (Essential Literacy Skill: Make logical inferences from explicit details)
  • Primary Source Activity: Examine President Lyndon Johnson’s 1966 speech declaring Columbus Day a national holiday. Cite details to answer the accompanying questions. (Essential Literacy Skill:Cite specific evidence to support conclusions drawn)

Step 4: APPLY & ASSESS 

Apply: Students take the Christopher Columbus Challenge, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.

Assess: Wrap up the lesson with the Christopher Columbus Quiz.

Step 5: EXTEND LEARNING

Time Zone X: Christopher Columbus:  Challenge players to put historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Additional Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

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